Top 5: Almost Indianapolis 500 wins

Jay Hart

Top 5 almost Indianapolis 500 wins:

1. Marco Andretti (2006)

Only one driver in Indy 500 history has lost the lead on the final lap, and that's Marco Andretti, who actually led coming out of Turn 4. But that's when Sam Hornish Jr., quickest all month, found a burst of speed to beat Andretti by just .0635 and deny him, at 19, of becoming the youngest ever winner of the race.

2. Mario Andretti: (1981)

First he lost, then he won, then he lost again. When the checkered flag flew, Mario Andretti finished second to 47-year-old Bobby Unser. But the next day, race officials listed Andretti as the winner. The reason for the change was that Unser had passed several drivers coming out of the pits under caution, a move officials believed deserved a one-lap penalty. But 138 days later, a USAC panel voted 2-1 to rescind the one-lap penalty, thus giving Unser the win.

3. Paul Tracy (2002)

With barely more than a lap to go, Paul Tracy passes Helio Castroneves for the lead. But as Tracy makes the pass, behind him Buddy Lazier and Laurent Redon crash, bringing out the caution. Race control rules that the caution flew before Tracy completed the passing, relegating him to a second-place finish and handing the win to Castroneves. Tracy and his team appealed the decision, but the ruling remained. To this day, Tracy and Team Green contend they should have won the race.

4. Michael Andretti (1992)

The 1992 edition is known for the closest-ever Indy 500 finish, when Al Unser Jr. beat Scott Goodyear to the line by just .043 seconds. But what gets lost is the fact that neither would have had a shot at victory if Michael Andretti's car had not lost fuel pressure. Andretti, who has led more laps at Indy than any non-winner, had lapped the entire field. But with just 11 laps to go, his fuel pump failed, allowing Unser Jr. and Goodyear back in the picture.

5. Ralph DePalma (1912)

In the second running of the 500, Ralph DePalma led 196 of 200 laps and was 5 1/2 laps ahead when his car broke down at three miles (or just over a lap from the finish). He and his mechanics got out and started pushing the car around the track but were eventually passed by Joe Dawson. DePalma wound up 11th but was one of the first to congratulate Dawson.